Neuronal excitation-inhibition (E/I) imbalances are considered an important pathophysiological mechanism in neurodevelopmental disorders. Preclinical studies on tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), suggest that altered chloride homeostasis may impair GABAergic inhibition and thereby E/I-balance regulation. Correction of chloride homeostasis may thus constitute a treatment target to alleviate behavioral symptoms. Recently, we showed that bumetanide—a chloride-regulating agent—improved behavioral symptoms in the open-label study Bumetanide to Ameliorate Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Hyperexcitable Behaviors trial (BATSCH trial; Eudra-CT: 2016-002408-13). Here, we present resting-state EEG as secondary analysis of BATSCH to investigate associations between EEG measures sensitive to network-level changes in E/I balance and clinical response to bumetanide. EEGs of 10 participants with TSC (aged 8–21 years) were available. Spectral power, long-range temporal correlations (LRTC), and functional E/I ratio (fE/I) in the alpha-frequency band were compared before and after 91 days of treatment. Pre-treatment measures were compared against 29 typically developing children (TDC). EEG measures were correlated with the Aberrant Behavioral Checklist-Irritability subscale (ABC-I), the Social Responsiveness Scale-2 (SRS-2), and the Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R). At baseline, TSC showed lower alpha-band absolute power and fE/I than TDC. Absolute power increased through bumetanide treatment, which showed a moderate, albeit non-significant, correlation with improvement in RBS-R. Interestingly, correlations between baseline EEG measures and clinical outcomes suggest that most responsiveness might be expected in children with network characteristics around the E/I balance point. In sum, E/I imbalances pointing toward an inhibition-dominated network are present in TSC. We established neurophysiological effects of bumetanide although with an inconclusive relationship with clinical improvement. Nonetheless, our results further indicate that baseline network characteristics might influence treatment response. These findings highlight the possible utility of E/I-sensitive EEG measures to accompany new treatment interventions for TSC. Clinical Trial Registration: EU Clinical Trial Register, EudraCT 2016-002408-13 (www.clinicaltrialsregister.eu/ctr-search/trial/2016-002408-13/NL). Registered 25 July 2016.
- excitation-inhibition balance
- open-label study
- repetitive behavior
- tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)